Mary Kay Place (born September 23, 1947) is an American actress, singer, director and screen writer.
Place was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the daughter of Bradley E. Place. She graduated from Nathan Hale High School and the University of Tulsa, where her father was an art professor and where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, with a speech degree. Place moved to Hollywood with aspirations of becoming an actress and writer. She was hired for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour in the 1970s as a production assistant to both Conway and producer Norman Lear. It was Conway who gave her her first on-camera break, while it was Lear who saw to it that Place received her first writing credit on his subsequent All in the Family. Her appearance on one of the All in the Family episodes as one of Gloria’s buddies, is memorable. On the episode, she sang “If Communism Comes Knocking on Your Door, Don’t Answer It.”
Lear then cast her in the role of would-be country and western star Loretta Haggers on the satirical soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976 – 1977). She won an Emmy Award for her work as Loretta, and was later nominated for a Grammy Award for her spin-off musical album Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers. Place wrote two of the songs on Tonite!: “Vitamin L” and “Baby Boy,” both of which she sang on the program as Loretta. Both showed that she knew how to capitalize on the character’s personality and comic effects.